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Home Mission

The earliest Home Mission ventures can be credited to Thomas Coke, who included the Highlands and islands of Scotland among the areas singled out in his missionary appeal of 1786. Largely at his instigation, vernacular missions were launched in Ireland in 1799 and in North Wales in 1800, and in 1806 the WM Conference appointed its first 'home missionaries' to areas in England where Methodism had not yet taken firm root. These mission circuits were not conspicuously successful and proved a drain on resources.

The first Home Mission committee was set up in 1856 in response to evidence that Methodism remained weak in urban and rural areas. Ministers were designated for special work there and this was picked up in the 1880s by the Forward Movement through its Central Missions. A Home Mission report presented to the 1940 Conference led to the launching of a series of 'Christian Commando Campaigns', focused on secular locations such as factories as well as on church premises.

The Home Mission Division which was set up in 1973 and became part of the Connexional Team in 1996 comprised the former Home Mission Department and London Mission. It was charged with the task of promoting evangelization and fostering the spiritual life and growth of churches in Britain. It had responsibility for urban and rural mission and for specialist ministries in the services, in prisons and in business, industry and commerce. Other aspects of the work include Mission alongside the Poor, Cliff College, the work of the Rob Frost team and of the London Committee. The Division was a resource for the work of local churches and circuits through the preparation of study programmes, apologetics material and a grant aid programme. Approximately 20% of circuits applied for Home Mission grants, predominantly those in the inner cities and urban areas. In its final year, these grants accounted for 1.5 million, approximately half its annual expenditure, and this aspect of its work is continued through the Resourcing Mission group of the Connexional Team. Easter People, one of the activities of the Rob Frost Team, is one of the latest Home Mission ventures.

Sources

  • John A. Vickers, Thomas Coke, Apostle of Methodism (1969) pp.304-16
  • Methodist Recorder, 15 June 1939

Entry written by: PWS
Category: Organisation

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